Tag Archives: punishments

Hugs Reduce Stress

Toxic stress in early childhood can harm children for life, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Don’t think your children have experienced toxic stress? All children do to differing degrees. Whoever said childhood is bliss didn’t know what he was talking about. Children experience stress just by being a child. From nightmares, worry about transitions, being afraid of the dark or thunder storms, social fears, children have a hard lot. And that doesn’t cover huge emotions and dysregulation that they cannot possibly understand when asked, “What’s wrong?” Then being punished, criticized, or threatened for behavior they can’t control…. You name it, a day rarely goes by when a child doesn’t experience stress.

Stress arises for a child when sensing a threat with no one to protect him from that threat. Children who experience this kind of stress in the early years, even prenatally through mother’s hormones, “…are more likely to suffer heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments…also more likely to struggle in school, have short tempers and tangle with the law.”

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Is your child being punished by rewards?

The school year has only just begun. It’s a time when children are excited to return to school, see their friends, meet their new teachers and feel really good about being a year older. Right? Not for all.

I received an email from a mother who said her son shoved his homework into his backpack all ripped up, said he doesn’t care or give a s*#t about his homework. She explained that the school has a color system for behavior—green, yellow, blue, and red (wonder what the blue means). Everyday her son comes home and tells her, I was good today or I was bad today.

Most schools have some form of behavior management program in place. Using punishment to manage behavior has much research supporting its ineffectiveness and shows that it can be counterproductive. In lieu of punishment techniques, many schools have taken to reward systems. The problem is that students who miss out on the rewards again and again, feel punished and resentful of the students who get them.

I’m sure that the administration and faculty of any school wants to keep as much order as possible so that the children can learn and do well. When hundreds of children are under the same roof, the fear of chaos and out of control behavior looms, the adults are responsible for all the children’s safety and learning, etc., etc., etc. However, as I see it, the children are the consumers in the business of education, and schools need to serve the consumer.

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